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- To: <mark>
- Subject: "Version" Aversion
- From: Bob Perez <bobp>
- Date: Fri, 15 Dec 89 14:59:59 PST
- Cc: <bobp>, <xanatech>
I've used "global identity" to refer to the kind of underlying
platonic expression you refer to, but after thinking about this
issue quite a bit (and discussing it with MarcS) I've concluded
that this only confuses the issue even more. As MarcS correctly
notes, what really drives the distinctions among the various
things that people call "documents" is their *intent* with respect
to those things.
Attempting to reduce the complexity of intent-driven document
creation and editing to a simple division between specific instances
and their relationship to a single underlying platonic expression
is far too simplistic for the real world, and anyway misses the
point that matters most to the community of users most interested
in any particular document: the purpose of that document.
I like to think of it as a strength of our system that it provides
direct support for this notion of intent-driven creation and
editing (e.g., by creating a new Bert for me when I want to work
on a variation for a new audience), while providing no direct
representation for the "cloud document" or "global identity"
I like Ravi's "edition" suggestion a lot, and plan to incorporate
it into my work. And while "variation" doesn't deliver quite
the persusasive impact that "edition" packs, I'm reasonably happy
with it in the absence of a better suggestion. However, I agree
with you that we should try and avoid using the term "version"
to reference both "editions" and "variations". I say "try" because
I have very little confidence in our ability to moderate the
habitual abuse "version" receives, either internally or externally.
So, let me summarize my understanding and see how well it maps
to yours. Berts are the soul of a document and represent the
discrete, persisting identity behind the changing representations
of that identity. As changes are made, a document visits different
states (represented by new Stamps), and whenever a particular
state is blessed with a Bert hopped from a predecessor Stamp
(thanks, Nick) we refer to the result as a new "edition" of the
When a document is replicated a new Bert is created representing
a new and separate identity; we refer to this as a "variation"
on the original document, anticipating a distinct intent by providing
a distinct identity and state/edition history capability (note
that the term "variation" is somewhat presumptuous, but not overly
so since it fits our reasonable expectation of actual changes
representing a new intent).
It doesn't seem to add anything but confusion to think of the
various relationships possible between editions spawned from
different variations. The act of variation is itself an assertion
that significant distinctions exist between the resulting variations
to warrant a new and separate identity. We should honor this
assertion by abandoning any attempt to draw cloud patterns or
global identities around the two.
Are we getting closer?